BEIJING, July 19 (ChinaMil) -- The PLA Air Force released a photo of an H-6K strategic bomber patrolling in the airspace over Huangyan Dao on its official microblog on July 15, but did not reveal when the photo was taken. It was generally believed to be the first photo released by the PLA Air Force of an H-6K patrolling over Huangyan Dao.
Military expert Du Wenlong said in an interview with CCTV that the patrol indicated that the PLA Air Force's long-range covering capability has reached a new height. In the future, its patrol in the South China Sea won't be limited to Huangyan Dao, but will cover all islands and reefs in the region that are within China's sovereignty.
After the temporary arbitral tribunal on South China Sea arbitration announced the illegal and void arbitration award on July 12, public opinions in the Philippines seemed to think that Philippine fishermen had obtained the rights to fish in sea areas of Huangyan Dao.
Philippine ABS-CBN TV station sent an interview crew to "return to Huangyan Dao" along with fishing boats on July 13, but they were intercepted by the Chinese Coast Guard ships.
According to a female journalist from ABS-CBN on the boat, "at least four" Chinese Coast Guard ships were patrolling near the island. Philippine media claimed that the Chinese Coast Guard ships demanded Philippine fishermen to leave the sea area through a loudspeaker.
Seeing that they couldn't enter the island, Philippine fishermen planned to anchor and spend the night nearby, but they were approached by dinghies from two Chinese Coast Guard ships that demanded them to leave.
Regarding the photo, Du Wenlong said it showed that the H-6K strategic bomber was flying from north to south in the west of Huangyan Dao, which not only indicates how "far" the PLA Air Force could go, but also how "powerful" China's strategic attack would be.
The fact that the PLA Air Force's strategic bomber appeared at Huangyan Dao meant it was able to cover the whole South China Sea. The PLA Air Force used to focus on land strike and didn't take islands, reefs and ships as actual targets, but now it has to be able to strike them all.
Besides, the Air Force releasing the photo also meant it was able to cover that region unlike before, and that its commanding and guarantee capability has reached a new height.
Military expert Li Li also said the appearance of the H-6K strategic bomber over Huangyan Dao meant the wings of Chinese strategic Air Force are long enough to reach Nansha islands and reefs, and cover the whole South China Sea.
Moreover, it is equipped with China's most advanced air-to-ground cruise missile whose firing range is several hundred kilometers at least, enabling China to establish a 3D sea-air defense system in the South China Sea region.
When asked whether the H-6K strategic bomber will patrol other islands and reefs in the South China Sea, Du Wenlong said "H-6K won't 'prefer' Huangyan Dao only. Other islands and reefs within Chinese sovereignty are all its patrol targets."
According to information from the media so far, the H-6K strategic bomber has a flying range of 8000km and can stay in air for 10 hours, so its patrol won't just target Huangyan Dao, but will cover multiple islands according to the patrol route.
The combination of long-range bomber and long-range missile patrolling in the airspace over South China Sea islands and reefs will become more frequent and normal in the future. Only by doing that can we better guarantee China's dignity, sovereignty and security in the region.